Clarion University Wrestling: John Worthing Clinches NCAA Bid, Two Others in Finals at 2023 MAC Championships

| March 5, 2023

FAIRFAX, Va. – Three Golden Eagles earned a trip to the conference finals, and John Worthing punched his ticket to the NCAA Division I Championships, on a thrilling opening day of the 2023 Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championships at Eaglebank Arena.

(Pictured above: John Worthing vs. Sal Perrine. Photo Credit: Clarion Athletics)

Clarion finished the first day with 78 team points, putting them in a tie for second place with Central Michigan. Lock Haven leads the team race with 90 points.

Wrestling in a competitive 174-pound field that earned four allocations to the national tournament over the course of the season, Worthing entered the bracket as the sixth seed and battled his way to the tournament final with an inspired performance. The redshirt sophomore started with a bye to the quarterfinals, pitting him against third-seeded Sal Perrine of Ohio. Worthing locked up a near fall on Perrine to take an early lead and eventually beat him by 10-6 decision to earn a spot in the semifinals.

There he faced Lock Haven’s Tyler Stoltzfus in what turned out to be a low-scoring bout; neither wrestler was able to manage more than an escape through seven minutes, taking it to sudden victory. Worthing survived a wild scramble in the overtime period, eventually working his way on top of Stoltzfus for a two-point takedown, the win, and an NCAA berth.

Worthing will compete for the 174-pound championship on Saturday against Central Michigan’s Alex Cramer, the top seed in the bracket.

The Golden Eagles had two other wrestlers earn spots in their respective finals, with both still having the opportunity to punch their own tickets to Tulsa, Oklahoma in two weeks. Will Feldkamp reached the finals of his bracket for the second straight year, this time winning three straight matches at 184 pounds, while Seth Koleno reached the finals of the 141-pound bracket with an upset victory of his own.

Feldkamp endured three tough bouts on Friday, starting with a 3-1 decision over Rider’s Isaac Dean that was decided in part by a series of stalling calls against the latter in the third period. Feldkamp remained the aggressor throughout the final period, carrying the action and earning the result in the process. That led to a quarterfinal match against Central Michigan’s Ben Cushman, which was a bout Cushman led by an 8-3 score in the second period. The tables turned less than a minute into the second period, when Feldkamp got his hooks into Cushman and flipped him to his back for the pin:

In the semifinal bout against Cleveland State’s DeAndre Nassar, Feldkamp remained on the attack despite a low-scoring bout. He earned the 3-1 decision and a trip to the 184-pound finals, where he will face Ohio’s Zayne Lehman.

Koleno put himself in position to earn his first-ever trip to the NCAA Championships with a pair of wins on Friday, including a stunning upset of second-seeded Saul Ervin from SIU-Edwardsville. After outlasting Ohio’s Kyran Hagan in the quarterfinal round, Koleno wasted no time against Ervin in the semis. He immediately got in on Ervin’s legs and brought him to his back, pinning him just 57 seconds into the action:

He will now face Bloomsburg’s Josh Mason in Saturday’s finals.

The Golden Eagles otherwise have a handful of wrestlers still in the hunt for an NCAA allocation on Saturday. Joey Fischer won his 125-pound quarterfinal bout against Central Michigan’s Sean Spidle before losing to Kent State’s Jake Ferri in the semis, but could still be in line for third place and a “true second” match on Saturday. Kyle Schickel remains in the hunt at 149 pounds after beating Buffalo’s Kaleb Burgess in the consolation bracket; with one more win, he puts himself in position to wrestle for fifth place and an NCAA berth. Trevor Elfvin also picked up a win in the consolation bracket, keeping him in the running for one of the four spots allocated to the 157-pound weight class. He beat Kent State’s Keegan Knapp in the consi bracket as well.

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